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Headshot of Nicole Dalzell.

Nicole Dalzell

Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Statistical Science
Faculty Adviser: Jerome P. Reiter


Nicole Dalzell joined the Ph.D. program in statistical science in 2012 and received her master’s in 2014. Her research focuses on Bayesian methods for file matching, and she won the Best Graduate Presentation Award at the AISC Conference in 2014. Dalzell has served as a teaching assistant for six classes, five in-person and one through an online Coursera course with over 95,000 students. Through a Bass Online Instructional Fellowship, she helped transform this Coursera course into an online continuing education course, which she also helped teach. She received the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award from the Statistical Science Department in 2016, with a unanimous vote from the selection committee.

Dalzell has also taught her own course, Data Analysis and Statistical Inference, to undergraduates at Duke for two summers.  She is a participant in The Graduate School’s Certificate in College Teaching and Preparing Future Faculty Program. In addition to her classroom teaching, Dalzell successfully co-organized the 2016 Datafest at Duke, a three-day data analysis competition for over 300 undergraduates.


“I had a student who came up to me after one of the classes and told me, ‘I read this article last night and saw their statistics, and I wanted to know where they got their samples from.’ And they brought the article in to show me and they wanted to talk about it. They are small little moments, but they reaffirm that you are doing something that matters in the students’ lives.”

Overcoming Students' Fear of Statistics
The Moment when Students "Get It"
That Time She TA'ed for 95,000 Students


“I can see Nicole not only be a marvelous educator in the classroom, but also be a thought leader and have a meaningful influence on the teaching culture of whatever institution chooses to go to after Duke.”

“She was extremely understanding and kind hearted. She was also extremely dedicated and would hand back work the day after it was turned in. She was always able to answer my questions and explain things in a way that I could understand. She always made me feel comfortable and never felt like she was judging me when I was asking her questions. She is very knowledge about stats and is a fantastic teacher!”

“I was very impressed by her thoughtfulness as well as willingness to adopt innovative pedagogies like flipped classroom and team-based learning …. She is regarded as the graduate pedagogy expert by all grad students and faculty, and if it weren’t for the fact that she is busy with her research, we would have her teach every summer!”